The haters were out in force after Ronda Rousey’s KO loss to Holly Holm, but it’s emerged that among those who reached out to offer her words of encouragement in her darkest days was none other than basketball superstar Kobe Bryant.

Bryant reveals in an interview with USA Today that he sent the former UFC bantamweight champion several messages of support in those dark days after her defeat.

“I sent her several messages, so yes, we have touched base,” Bryant revealed. “That’s what it’s about. It’s not about how you win. A true champion is about how you lose and come back from that.

Some other celebrities weren’t so kind, with the likes of Donald Trump, Lady Gaga, 50 Cent and Laila Ali all taking aim at her on social media, but Bryant told Rousey that overcoming adversity is what will make her one of the greats.

“I told her, ‘It’s a beautiful thing.’ That’s what I told her. I said, ‘To be a true champion, sometimes you have to get knocked down.’ It happens to the best of us. It happened with my Achilles [when I tore it]. [Muhammad] Ali got put down several times — it happens to the best of us.

“I think the true mark of a champion is how you get up from that. If she goes through her entire career undefeated, she becomes this mythical figure that nobody can relate to. She got beat. We all got beat at some point or another in our lives. Now it’s a matter of how she bounces back from that. I think that’s what makes her a true champion.”

Meanwhile, former boxing champion Andre Berto has offered to bring Rousey’s striking skills to the next level.

“Ronda isn’t a pure boxer, Holly is,” Berto told TMZ this week. “She needs to focus more on her boxing and cutting off the ring. I’d love to stop by her gym and give some pointers.

“I grew up around it just like she did. Call me!”

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